Motorola RAZR XT910 review: Through thick and thin

GSMArena team, 29 November 2011.
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The Motorola RAZR XT910 retail package

Motorola put the RAZR XT910 in a box that's thinner than usual to emphasize one of the phone's great merits. It still contains all the essentials - a compact charger that uses the microUSB cable, a one-piece headset (in-ear design) and manuals. The earphones are branded ROKR - recycling old glory doesn't stop at RAZR obviously.

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Motorola RAZR accessories

We were kind of hoping for an HDMI cable but microHDMI aren’t that hard to come by. The big-ticket items like the Lapdock 500 Pro or the HD Dock aren’t part of the bundle either, those are sold separately (but we've seen good package deals for the ATRIX, so you might want to wait for one of those if the Lapdock is a must-have).

Motorola RAZR 360-degree spin

The Motorola RAZR measures 130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1 mm - super slim but not small. It weighs 127g, which isn't much for a droid with a 4.3" screen (but we’ve seen lighter too).

Design and build quality

The original Motorola RAZR became a design icon and one of the most coveted phones in its time. This new droid reincarnation has a lot to live up to then - and Moto have done a good job at it.

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Old and new RAZRs side by side

Instead of the all too common rounded rectangle design, the RAZR is beveled at the corners and the piece of Gorilla Glass is somewhat of a hexagon. The Kevlar back is even more recognizable and brings carbon-fiber-like aesthetics to the phone (we've seen luxury phones with similar kind of finishing).

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The Motorola RAZR XT910 sized up against the HTC Sensation XL and Galaxy S II

The Motorola RAZR uses a SuperAMOLED screen that measures 4.3" in diagonal and dominates the front. It has higher resolution than the equally-sized screen on the Samsung Galaxy S II, but unlike it, it uses the old PenTile matrix.

Still, the qHD resolution of the RAZR's screen gives it higher pixel density - 256ppi for the Motorola vs. 217ppi for the Samsung. You can see the PenTile matrix if you look at it from real close, but at any reasonable distance it's all but invisible. If you put the RAZR and the Galaxy S II side by side and look at text (or something else with a lot of detail), the Galaxy S II actually looks a little sharper even though it has a lower ppi. Again, it's hardly noticeable if you don't have both screens in front of you. We observed the same thing back in the day when we reviewed the Motorola Atrix.

The screen offers deep blacks and great contrast the way only an AMOLED can and excellent viewing angles - there's no color or contrast loss at all. It matches the readings for the SuperAMOLED Plus screen on the Samsung Galaxy S II, but it's not the AMOLED brightest display we've seen.

You can find more information on your display test here.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Nokia X7 0 365 0 630
HTC Sensation XL 0.22 231 1045 0.52559 1085
HTC Titan 0.26 233 891 0.56567 1007
Motorola Atrix 4G 0.48 314 652 0.60 598 991
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 982 0.35 347 1001
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
Motorola RAZR XT910 0 215 0 361
HTC Incredible S 0.18 162 908 0.31 275 880
Apple iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242

Moving on, above the display we find proximity and ambient light sensors along with the 1.3MP secondary camera. A notification light will blink green in case of missed events. The earpiece is also here, below the Motorola logo, finely etched in a metal plate that proudly contrasts with its black surroundings.

Underneath the display are the traditional four capacitive keys in charge of Android navigation - Menu, Home, Back and Search - and the mic pinhole.

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Capacitive keys below the display • Earpiece, sensors and front-facing VGA camera

The top of the Motorola RAZR is where the three wired connectivity ports are lined up within a nice strip of rubberized plastic. They are the 3.5mm audio jack, the microUSB port and the microHDMI port. All three are uncovered and risk getting filled with dust over time.

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3.5mm audio jack, microUSB and microHDMI ports on top

The left side of the handset is very tidy, only featuring the microSIM and microSD card slots hidden under a shared plastic lid. It is hard to open and we're afraid we might at some point pull too hard and damage it. The memory card is very easy to put in and pull out while the SIM card is near impossible to retrieve after it's been inserted. It either doesn't have a push-to-eject compartment, or our unit was faulty.

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The microSIM and microSD slots are under a protective flap

The right side of the Motorola RAZR features the big Power/Lock key and the volume rocker. The Power/Lock key has a different texture than the volume rocker, so they're easy to tell apart by touch. The volume control is small and not terribly comfortable to use.

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The Power/Lock key is easy to reach • The volume rocker

The bottom of the Motorola RAZR is completely bare.

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Nothing interesting at the bottom

The back on the other hand is rather interesting. The phone is a single solid piece - there's no actual battery cover. The Kevlar rear has a distinctive pattern and a nice, rubbery feel to it, which improves grip.

The top part of the back protrudes to accommodate the 8MP camera, the LED flash and the loudspeaker.

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The back of the RAZR looks like it means business

Now, most thin phones have such a bulge but it's usually at the bottom making them easier to hold. Putting all those things at the top makes the Motorola RAZR a little head-heavy.

Anyway, also on the back is the noise-cancellation microphone placed in the same position as the mouthpiece.

While we can't pop the back cover to take a peek inside, we know there's a massive 1780mAh Li-Ion battery that's officially quoted at 304 hours of standby and 9 hours 20 minutes of talk time.

Motorola went for modern durable materials in the construction of the RAZR XT910 and the results are very good. The phone is very solid (it helps that there are no detachable parts) and will slip into any pocket wide enough. The tightly packed internals of the phone enjoy some limited resistance to splashing water, but you have to be careful with it since the wired ports are completely unprotected.

The RAZR is very thin - thinner than all smartphones we've tested so far - and it feels different. A super slim handset, but rather tall and wide, it's not too comfortable and secure to hold at least at the beginning. The thicker part at the top didn’t prove to be a problem really.

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The Motorola RAZR XT910 held in hand

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